Archive for July, 2012
By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT
Getting divorced or separated. Not sure how to tell your kids? Learn the most common mistakes parents make when having the “divorce talk” so you can spare your children from unnecessary emotional trauma.
Getting psyched up to tell your children about your pending divorce — or separation? Not sure what to say? When to say it? How to say it? What to expect after the conversation? What to do next? How to deal with your special circumstances? What therapists, mediators, attorneys, clergy and other professionals suggest you do and don’t do to make things better all around? Well, you’re not alone. Having the “divorce talk” with a child you love is one of the toughest conversations you’ll ever have. Shouldn’t you be prepared?
Professionals all agree on some of the most common mistakes parents make when bringing up divorce or separation. These include:
- Fighting around the children – even on the phone!
- Using the children as spies or messengers
- Asking children to bear the guilt and confusion of making decisions or choosing sides
- Failing to remind children that none of this is in any way their fault
- Forgetting to emphasize that Mom and Dad will still always be their Mom and Dad — even after divorce!
- Confiding adult details to children in order to attract their allegiance or sympathy
- Badmouthing their other parent to alienate the kids from them
- Failing to create a safe, secure and peaceful environment for your children so they can continue their childhood!
These are just some of the most common messages that parents fail to convey because they’re not aware, not prepared, feeling self-righteous — and sometimes quite scared!
If you’re about to tackle this tough conversation – or you know someone who is – there’s help you can depend on to simplify the process. Don’t wing it unprepared. You wouldn’t go on vacation or plan a party without advanced preparation. Why tackle one of the most important and emotionally charged talks you’ll ever have with your children without giving it just as much – if not more – thought and attention?
If you’re not sure what to say and how to say it in age-appropriate language, there are many resources available to help you. Therapists, coaches and mediators provide excellent personal guidance. Collaborative divorce attorneys (those who specialize in creating non-adversarial divorce solutions) can be of great assistance at this time. So can clergy, school Guidance Counselors and parenting experts. There are many articles and books written on the subject as well.
My own internationally-acclaimed ebook provides a unique approach through the creation of a personalized family storybook – prepared in advance – with photos and fill-in-the-blank templates. To learn more about How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children – with Love! visit http://www.howdoitellthekids.com.
However you approach this challenging conversation, be prepared. Understand the effects – both emotionally and psychologically – this news can have on your children, and learn how to avoid the common mistakes parents make when they haven’t done their homework in advance. You and your children can survive – and even thrive after divorce. Think before you leap and give your family a sound foundation on which to face the changes ahead with security, compassion and love.
* * *
Rosalind Sedacca, a Divorce and Parenting Coach and founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network for parents, is the author of the internationally-acclaimed ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children – with Love! To learn more about the ebook, visit http://www.howdoitellthekids.com. For a free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting: Success Strategies for Getting It Right!, her free ezine and other valuable resources for parents, visit: www.childcentereddivorce.com.
© Rosalind Sedacca All rights reserved.
By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT
Whether you got divorced several weeks ago or it’s been several years, most of us can acknowledge that we’ve made some mistakes.
Perhaps we lost our tempers at an inappropriate time and watched our children painfully internalize the experience.
Maybe we referred to our ex in a rather unflattering way only to find our child get very upset and storm away in anger.
Chances are, in the heat of the divorce drama, we settled for a decision or two that we later regretted and still feel resentful. Or we made a child-related agreement that, in hindsight, was not in our child’s best interest – but we don’t know quite how to remedy the situation.
While some legal matters will involve only legal resolution, there are many post-divorce relationship decisions involving our children that we can remedy. And it’s never too late to make amends and get it right.
If you have found that your children are suffering or hurting due to a decision you made when you were more motivated by anger than by positive parenting and are now having regrets – take action.
That can mean having a heart-to-heart with your children and apologizing for actions or statements you made that created pain in their lives. Take responsibility, own those behaviors, and humbly explain that you made an error and now want to make some changes.
That may translate into letting them spend more time with their other parent … no longer bad-mouthing your ex in front of the kids … inviting your ex to a holiday or school event with the children … encourage the kids to have a visit with their “other” grandparents … you get the idea.
Perhaps it means a straight-talk conversation with your ex that opens the door to better, more cooperative communication, trust and co-parenting. Or apologizing for harsh words and insults. Yes, this can be amazingly difficult to do from an ego perspective. But when you think about how much joy it can mean to your children when they see both of their parents getting along — it’s more than worth the swallowing of your pride. Chances are your ex will swallow some too – and be receptive to working things out in a more mature manner.
If you have nothing to “own” and all the tension and mistakes rest solely on the shoulders of your ex, try approaching them in a different way, focusing exclusively on the emotional needs of the children, and reaching out a hand in peace.
There’s no guarantee this will work – and we all know some certified jerks out there of both genders – but I wouldn’t give up – ever! Times change, people can change, and change may be just what your family needs so you can create a better outcome for the children you love.
When you take the “high” road and model responsible, effective behavior, you are giving your children the gift of learning how to do that themselves. It’s a gift that will pay off for you and them many times in the years ahead. One day your children will thank you for making things “right.” They’ll acknowledge you for being such a model Mom or Dad, despite the challenges you faced. And believe me, you will be proud of the parent you worked so hard to become.
* * *
Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a Divorce & Parenting Coach and author of the internationally- acclaimed ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! For her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting: Success Strategies for Getting It Right! and other valuable resources on divorce and parenting issues, go to: www.childcentereddivorce.com